Robust 60 cell panel for Toyhauler?

I’m looking to buy six 24 volt 60 cell panels for my toyhauler project. I’d like to get a structurally robust panel that can take the beating of a mobile application.

Of course I’d like the highest wattage possible but I’m more concerned with the panel’s structural integrity than I am with its wattage. Additionally, I’d like to hear your opinion as to the cell type, Mono or Poly.

I’ve been looking at the SolarWorld Sunmodule 275 & 280 as well as the Kyocrea 255 KD over at NAW&S but have yet to decide which way I’d like to roll. http://www.solar-electric.com/products-onsale/

Are there any others I should be looking at?

You guys are the experts and I’d really like to hear what you think before I make the purchase.

As always, thanks so kindly for your time and efforts

Cee

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,688 admin
    Re: Robust 60 cell panel for Toyhauler?

    HandyBob had a good vendor... But...

    https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/2014-solar-ideas-batteries-other-things/
    I bought Helios USA modules because they use 4mm glass, something that I think is the right thing in hail country. I have done two homes with them. Evidently not many agreed and most bought the cheapest Chinese things they could find. Helios is in bankruptcy…. So much for the warranty. I have gotten to the point where I tell people that a warranty on solar panels is only a worthless piece of paper.

    From what I have seen--Warranties are difficult to trust the vendor will be around 10+ years from now. Was $5 a watt panels worth a 20 year warranty--Or was a $1 a Watt panel with iffy warranty a better choice? I already had one array as a warranty replacement (after ~6 years, GT Solar, moderate climate).

    Look at few panels/vendors you are interested in and look at their Hail & Wind and Snow loadings. Those with higher ratings MAY have better structure.

    http://www.solar-electric.com/lib/wind-sun/SW-280-specs.pdf
    5,400 Pa snow loading
    UL Design Loads* Two rail system 113 psf downward
    64 psf upward
    UL Design Loads* Three rail system 170 psf downward
    64 psf upward
    IEC Design Loads* Two rail system 113 psf downward
    50 psf upward
    * Please refer to the Sunmodule installation instructions for the details associated with
    these load cases.

    http://www.solar-electric.com/lib/wind-sun/KD250_KD255_specifications.pdf
    Hailstone Impact in ( 2 5mm) @ 51mph (23m/s)

    Another website said:
    Kyocera Quality Built In:
    - New frame technology allows for end mounting under 2400 Pa (50 psf) or wind speeds of 130 mph (ASTM E1830) and traditional mounting under 5400 Pa (113 psf) to support increased snow load

    You can call/contact NAWS and see if they have further information (getting difficult to get detailed specifications).

    Note that how you mount them (long side on rails vs short side, how much they overlap, etc.) also affects strength.

    Kyocera Technical Document

    Regarding Mono vs Poly Crystalline panels... Mono crystalline tend to be more efficient (more watts per square foot) and are usually more expensive per Watt.

    Otherwise, if price/physical size of panel does not matter, then poly tends to win on the $/Watt cost. RV's maybe the more efficient Mono Crystalline is worth the money for you.

    Other than that--I don't have any knowledge that one is "better" than the other.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • boonhaulerboonhauler Solar Expert Posts: 35
    Re: Robust 60 cell panel for Toyhauler?

    So I decided to go with the Kyocera 255 Poly’s over at NAWS.

    I decided to hunt around for 4MM glass as HandyBob had mentioned but with no luck. It appears the 3.2MM glass has become somewhat of a standard between the manufacturers. I spoke with a tech over at Kyocera and he mentioned that panels have become a commodity and all the manufacturers are buying the glass from the same manufacturer.

    As for the frame the Kyocera has the two panel stiffeners at equal spacing supporting the module assembly. I felt that would help stiffen the panels load wise and strengthen the frame diagonally. Once I start the installation I’ll post some pics. I’m going to use 6063 sharp corner aluminum channel that fits inside each other and pins at each end to provide the tilting.

    http://www.coastaluminum.com/Design/Panels/01%20Aluminum%20-%20Rod%20Bar%20and%20Shapes/13%20Aluminum%20Channel%206063%20Sharp%20Corner.pdf

    The Kyocera tech also mentioned the panels would most likely push 260 due to the way they rate their panels.

    Thanks again,

    Cee
  • AudiomakerAudiomaker Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭
    Re: Robust 60 cell panel for Toyhauler?

    Dunno, but this vid' sold me for my RV application ...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6v2lDa8Hos
  • boonhaulerboonhauler Solar Expert Posts: 35
    Re: Robust 60 cell panel for Toyhauler?

    WOW, now that's impressive! .....damm, now you've got me re-thinking things. I hate this .... :confused:
  • AudiomakerAudiomaker Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭
    Re: Robust 60 cell panel for Toyhauler?
    boonhauler wrote: »
    WOW, now that's impressive! .....damm, now you've got me re-thinking things. I hate this .... :confused:

    Yeah, things kind of change when you go "These help protect my roof from damage"...lol.

    I don't know how much of that is hype, or how it would compare with other panels in the real world, but the idea that I can walk on them is a big deal.

    One thing's for sure, their marketing department sold me :)
  • boonhaulerboonhauler Solar Expert Posts: 35
    Re: Robust 60 cell panel for Toyhauler?
    Audiomaker wrote: »
    Yeah, things kind of change when you go "These help protect my roof from damage"...lol.

    I don't know how much of that is hype, or how it would compare with other panels in the real world, but the idea that I can walk on them is a big deal.

    One thing's for sure, their marketing department sold me :)

    Yeah, I've got a 3/8" FRP roof so I'm not to concerned about hail but I do have roof vents that would take a beating.

    Being able to walk on the panel would be really cool for tilting and cleaning .... as well as I'm getting old and pretty wobbly these days so I'm sure I'd be stepping all over them anyway.

    I hear ya on the marketing, great job!
  • AudiomakerAudiomaker Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭
    Re: Robust 60 cell panel for Toyhauler?
    boonhauler wrote: »
    Yeah, I've got a 3/8" FRP roof so I'm not to concerned about hail but I do have roof vents that would take a beating.

    Being able to walk on the panel would be really cool for tilting and cleaning .... as well as I'm getting old and pretty wobbly these days so I'm sure I'd be stepping all over them anyway.

    I hear ya on the marketing, great job!

    From the video, I meant to protect your roof from tree branches and low bridges ... :cool:
  • boonhaulerboonhauler Solar Expert Posts: 35
    Re: Robust 60 cell panel for Toyhauler?
    Audiomaker wrote: »
    From the video, I meant to protect your roof from tree branches and low bridges ... :cool:

    Just me being a little slow on the uptake ....... as usual
  • boonhaulerboonhauler Solar Expert Posts: 35
    Re: Robust 60 cell panel for Toyhauler?

    So I've been calling around this morning to get as much information as possible. The panels in the video are their Sunmodule 'Protect' series with two layers (1 front 1 back) of 2mm glass for a total of 4mm.

    Their regular panels are 1 layer of 3.2mm glass.

    As for suppliers, NAW&S and Solar Blvd do not have and can't get these panels. The panels they're selling are not even their 'Plus' modules although the NAW&S website has them listed as plus panels.

    I found 270 watt SW 'Protect' panels for basically $1.50 a watt.

    Pricey aren't they ....... I think I'm going to hold for the time being.
  • AudiomakerAudiomaker Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭
    boonhauler wrote: »
    Re: Robust 60 cell panel for Toyhauler?

    So I've been calling around this morning to get as much information as possible. The panels in the video are their Sunmodule 'Protect' series with two layers (1 front 1 back) of 2mm glass for a total of 4mm.

    Their regular panels are 1 layer of 3.2mm glass.

    As for suppliers, NAW&S and Solar Blvd do not have and can't get these panels. The panels they're selling are not even their 'Plus' modules although the NAW&S website has them listed as plus panels.

    I found 270 watt SW 'Protect' panels for basically $1.50 a watt.

    Pricey aren't they ....... I think I'm going to hold for the time being.

    Thanks for that info'. I'll probably still use the company as they are close by. I'll be yelling at them if I can't get the 320xl in this series...oh yeah.
    That is pricey. Dunno how I would choose, but again... being able to walk on a panel has some major advantages in my application where it would be hard not to walk on them (hard, not impossible).

    Here's the shame of it (are you listening SolarWorld ?), if SW priced the "protect" series closer to regular panels they'd sell a ton of them. It is after all just glass. You Boonhauler are example #1 of this.... ready to go and then... maybe not.

    Sean
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,688 admin
    I told NAWS about the Solarworld questions late Friday.

    Hopefully they will have answers early this week.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • AudiomakerAudiomaker Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭
    BB. wrote: »
    I told NAWS about the Solarworld questions late Friday.

    Hopefully they will have answers early this week.

    -Bill

    Took me a minute to figure out who "NAWS" is, but now I'm considering naming my next dog that. :)
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,688 admin
    Northern Arizona Wind & Sun.

    Our host and founder of this forum.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • DLwindsunDLwindsun Administrators Posts: 34 admin
    boonhauler wrote: »
    Re: Robust 60 cell panel for Toyhauler?

    So I've been calling around this morning to get as much information as possible. The panels in the video are their Sunmodule 'Protect' series with two layers (1 front 1 back) of 2mm glass for a total of 4mm.

    Their regular panels are 1 layer of 3.2mm glass.

    As for suppliers, NAW&S and Solar Blvd do not have and can't get these panels. The panels they're selling are not even their 'Plus' modules although the NAW&S website has them listed as plus panels.

    I found 270 watt SW 'Protect' panels for basically $1.50 a watt.

    Pricey aren't they ....... I think I'm going to hold for the time being.

    We did confirm the SW-275-mono-2-5 and the SW-280-mono-2-5 advertised on the Northern Arizona Wind and Sun website are in fact the plus model from SolarWorld. This was confirmed by matching the serial numbers on the panels in our inventory.
  • boonhaulerboonhauler Solar Expert Posts: 35
    I was told by one of the sales staff they weren't 'Plus' panels so that is good news but the 'Version 2.5' is an older panel and too my knowledge no longer being produced by SolarWorld. I believe the current modules are 'Plus 33mm'.

    I'm still very much looking for the SolarWorld 'Protect' series, will you be stocking those anytime soon? ........ or will we have to wait for them to become outdated before we'll see any of them being sold here?

    As always, thanks so kindly for addressing these issues.

    Cee
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,688 admin
    Cee,

    Normally, the folks from NAWS do not answer business related questions on the forum... Please contact them directly at:

    http://www.solar-electric.com/contacts/

    Or call them directly:
    Northern Arizona Wind & Sun
    4091 E Huntington Drive, Suite B
    Flagstaff, AZ 86004
    Flagstaff office: (800) 383-0195 928-526-8017
    FAX Flagstaff: 928-527-0729
    Office hours: 8 AM to 4 PM Arizona Time, Mon-Fri. Closed on most major (federal) holidays.

    I will copy them on your question--So we may see something back here.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • DLwindsunDLwindsun Administrators Posts: 34 admin
    boonhauler wrote: »
    I was told by one of the sales staff they weren't 'Plus' panels so that is good news but the 'Version 2.5' is an older panel and too my knowledge no longer being produced by SolarWorld. I believe the current modules are 'Plus 33mm'.

    I'm still very much looking for the SolarWorld 'Protect' series, will you be stocking those anytime soon? ........ or will we have to wait for them to become outdated before we'll see any of them being sold here?

    As always, thanks so kindly for addressing these issues.

    Cee

    At this time we have no plans to stock the protect series and from my understanding they are going to be expensive and hard to get. If you're willing to pay the premium we can always try and get exactly what you're looking for. You would need to email [email protected] or give us a call. Thank you.
  • boonhaulerboonhauler Solar Expert Posts: 35
    DLwindsun wrote: »

    At this time we have no plans to stock the protect series and from my understanding they are going to be expensive and hard to get. If you're willing to pay the premium we can always try and get exactly what you're looking for. You would need to email [email protected] or give us a call. Thank you.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply and sorry that it’s taken me so long to respond.

    I’m a little concerned that I might damage a 'Plus' panel if I step on one and I’m sure that I will at some point in time.

    I think I’'ll hold for the time being and hope the ‘Protect’ series price comes down to a more affordable level.
  • boonhaulerboonhauler Solar Expert Posts: 35
    So I ended up getting the SW 275 Protect series panel for my project.

    I ended up paying just under $1.50 a watt delivered to my door step.
  • Iceni JohnIceni John Solar Expert Posts: 103 ✭✭

    Why do you want to walk on them?   If you had a small stone imbedded in your shoe's sole it could fracture or scratch any panel, regardless of how thick the glass is.   I think it's better to just keep off them!

    I made a 12"-wide walkway along the center of my bus roof, and that's much safer for me and the panels.   Each panel sits inside a support frame of 1.75" angle 6063 aluminum which lessens the load on the panels' own frames.   The support frames are hinged to the walkway and can be raised up to 45 degrees above horizontal or lay down against the roof at 21 degrees below horizontal, giving me pretty good angles for the whole year.   So far, so good.   To easily wash them I put two quick-connect water outlets on the walkway, then I don't need to lug buckets of water or heavy hoses up to the roof  - I just plug in my washdown brush with its short curly hose and clean them without any risk to me or the panels.   Easy!

    John 

    40' Crown bus with 2kW of tiltable panels on the roof:

    Eight Sharp 255W, two Morningstar TS-MPPT-60, Magnum MS2000, Champion C46540 generator converted to propane, eight golfcart batteries, and maybe a small Exeltech inverter for the fridger.

    Southern California

  • boonhaulerboonhauler Solar Expert Posts: 35
    edited February 2016 #22
    John:

    The intent is NOT to walk on the panels. I too have a walkway down the center of the array but as I stated above I am getting old and with age I seem to be a little more wobbly or less sure footed. It's nice knowing that if I need to I can step on the panel. I have a three rail mount system that's fully tiltable to 90 degrees.

    On another subject, the SW panels come with H4 connectors. I'd like to use an MC4 connector to mate with them. Has anyone visited the intermateability issue by doing so? ...... I have a call into Amphenol about it but have not heard back.

    Thanks!
  • Raj174Raj174 Solar Expert Posts: 794 ✭✭✭✭
    boonhauler,

    MC4 to H4 adapters are available at the NAWS store. You can find them here...
    http://www.solar-electric.com/mc4-to-h4-adapters.html
    4200W PV, MNE175DR-TR, MN Classic 150, Outback Radian GS4048A, Mate3, 51.2V 360AH nominal LiFePO4, Kohler Pro 5.2E genset.
  • boonhaulerboonhauler Solar Expert Posts: 35
    Raj:

    Thanks for the link.

    I hunted around the net a little in regards to the subject matter and here's what Amphenol has to say on their website:

    "Amphenol Industrial Solar Technologies’ H4 PV Connector is the premiere solar connector in the market today. Carries more amps, has a higher voltage rating, higher IP rating, and is fully intermatable with the industry standard connector. Meets the NEC 2008/2011 standard “as is” no additional locking-clip required. Available in four different gauges: 36A(2.5mm2, AWG14), 45A(4.0mm2, AWG12), 52A(6.0mm2, AWG10), 65A(10.0mm2, AWG8)."

    I know other sites say there 'could' be a problem with dissimilar materials and 'Its not UL approved' but I'm not quite sure that's of any concern for my project.

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